The Planes of Existence was a popular chat site and human rights organisation that ran from July 1996 until mid 2003. It used NUTS code as its base of programming and had up to 10 "planes" or separate linked chat sites attached to it. At the time of its closing, this had been reduced to 3. The Planes of Existence is notable in that its subculture of how it was run and what it stood for were used by a variety of other internet chat sites, web sites and human rights organisations and its political system has been used in a number of different micronations over the internet.
The idea came in part from visiting lintilla's multiple worlds adult chat site in 1995. The idea that lintilla had, of having a different "world" for each sexual desire was one which intrigued POE's creator. Lintilla also included a number of main worlds which were for general chit chat and a number of non-adult aspects.
The creator of POE, a person calling himself Cat, thought that this concept reminded him very much of the astral concept of the planes of existence, and he felt that using that approach could help to present something that was more positive and did not devalue human sexual expression. He felt that adult sexual expression could be combined with human rights, in that lesbians may be interested in women's movements, and vice versa, and that people with certain sexual expressions may be more interested in protecting that right to sexual expression. He also felt to expand on the non-adult aspect and to create a number of desirable planes which under 18's could freely visit.
Initial set upEdit
When the Planes of Existence opened their doors in July 1996, there were 10 planes:
- The Plane of Wisdom
- The Plane of Magic
- The Plane of Madness
- The Plane of Love
- The Plane of Extroversion
- The Plane of Animals
- The Plane of Women
- The Plane of Men
- The Plane of Peace
- The Plane of Darkness
These planes were hosted by talker.com on planes.talker.com 4201-4210. The number "42" was copied from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as the answer to the meaning of life, death, the universe and everything. This appealed to its creator as a good number to use.
The planes were simply set up that the first 3, as well as peace, were all ages, while the other 6 were adults only. It made it very clear that this was not *just* for sexual expression, and the human rights side to it was expanded on through links that led to involvement with the United Nations. However, there was a problem with Peace, in that some people felt it was a place to talk about drugs, while others felt that it was a place to talk about animals.
Administrative set upEdit
The administrative set up had a number of titles, each by gender, to try to have exactly equal power, with no person having absolute power, and an extensive legal process to go through before making any decisions. The initial titles were as follows:
- King of the Gods
- Queen of the Gods
- God of Life
- Goddess of Death
- God of Wisdom (vacant for ages)
- God of Magic
- God of Madness
- Goddess of Love
- Goddess of Extroversion
- God of Animals
- Goddess of Women
- God of Men (vacant for a while)
- God of Peace (vacant for ages)
- Goddess of Darkness (surprisingly vacant for a while)
The title of Life and Death meant that one was for promotions while the other was for demotions and banning people. Thus the Goddess of Death had more power. In effect, both interchanged roles quite significantly. The role of King and Queen of the Gods was primarily to organise meetings between the others - they had no more power than anyone else. This was in a lot of ways based on the Ancient Greek system, and there were thoughts even to use some of the names of their Gods.
On top of that, there were also a variety of Sorceresses and Sorcerors, lower level administrators. They had the power to ban, block, jail, etc, but did not have the power over major decision making. The number of these was determined by number of users.
By using this system, there was an assurance that there would never be any corruption within the system. Whilst some did inevitably arise, it never got completely out of control. The system was very transparent. This system has been used by many others, both on the internet and in politics generally.
The Plane of WisdomEdit
The Plane of Wisdom was intended to be a place for deep thought, to discuss philosophy. However, it was inevitably used for meetings between the Gods, and was not really used very often. There was briefly a God of Wisdom, but never any sorcerors. Under new ownership in 1999, the plane was deleted.
The Plane of MagicEdit
The Plane of Magic later changed its name to the Plane of Magick, and was meant to be for discussions of all religions, but ended up being primarily used for discussion of wicca and witchcraft. It had its moments of popularity, but the lack of a regular God meant that it never really lifted off. The visitors that did come regularly wanted to be involved in sexual practises and the G rating meant that this was not really possible. The introduction of some games and "spells" for fun for users increased popularity however. Under new ownership in 1999, the plane was deleted.
The Plane of MadnessEdit
The Plane of Madness had a God the entire time that it was in existence, and even made it through the cut in 1999, although it was then ultimately cut in 2000. It was the most popular of the 4 general planes, and had the most games and silly things. It inevitably became a discussion of Discworld and other Multiple User Dungeons, and in a lot of ways became a MUD itself.
The Plane of LoveEdit
The Plane of Love was initially a very popular plane, until the change of name for plane 5, the Plane of Extroversion, in to the Plane of Lust. Once the Plane of Lust was created, the Plane of Love only existed for people to get married, and it became a kind of a church or honeymoon plane. It was cut in 1999. It made a brief re-appearance at the expense of Peace in 2000, but then was cut completely later in the year.
The Plane of Extroversion/The Plane of LustEdit
The Plane of Extroversion was initially the least popular of all planes, partially due to the non-regular appearance of the Goddess of Extroversion. In her absence, the Goddess of Love performed on the Plane of Extroversion a few times, and eventually changed planes, with one of her first suggestions being to rename it to the Plane of Lust. This then became the most popular plane, with regularly over 50 people on at a time. When the Goddess of Lust moved, this plane then competed with the Plane of Animals and the Plane of Darkness for the title of most popular. It remained a plane right until the end. One of the key aspects of the Plane of Lust was that voyeurism and public sexual encounters were encouraged. This was one of few free places on the internet where this was the case (you usually had to pay for such things). It also created a lot of human rights activism as a result.
The Plane of AnimalsEdit
Whilst the initial aims of the Plane of Animals was as a place to go to for animal rights, it inevitably turned in to a place where bestiality and zoophilia were encouraged. As this was one of only 4 internet chat sites where such things were permitted, it became very popular. Many zoophiles referred to this as "The Plain of Animals", mis-spelling Plane in this way. It became affectionately known as "POA", and was the only plane to have its own 3 letter abbreviation. Controversy about the appointment of a meat-hating vegetarian activist as a sorceror led to this plane being largely abandoned in mid 1998, and some of those who left formed their own "Plain of Animals" as a place which represented all that the Plane of Animals had tried to create. The Plane of Animals in fact had 15 spin-off chat sites, including a multiple worlds for zoophiles. In 1999, this plane was controversially cut from the main set, in spite of being the 3rd most popular plane.
The Plane of WomenEdit
The Plane of Women was one plane which for its entire duration maintained the link between feminism and women's right and lesbianism. Unlike the Plane of Men, a large proportion of POW users were not homosexual and in fact came to talk about women's rights issues. It was retained under new ownership in 1999, with the same Goddess, and continued right through to the end in 2003. Under new administration, it changed ports from 4207 to 4201, to be in line with Lintilla, Sleepy's and Fantasia's multiple worlds.
The Plane of MenEdit
The Plane of Men, in spite of its aims to promote men's rights, was only ever used to promote homosexual behaviour and gay rights. It was never particularly popular, unlike the Plane of Women, and had many different Gods running it, as well as periods of vacancy. In spite of this, it remained a part of POE right until the end, when it was the least popular of the planes remaining. Its members were very politically active in promoting gay rights. Under new administration, it changed ports from 4208 to 4202, to be in line with Lintilla, Sleepy's and Fantasia's multiple worlds.
The Plane of Peace/The Plane of DolphinsEdit
The Plane of Peace, in spite of, or perhaps because of its ties with the United Nations was never particularly popular. It was not until the controversy on POA in mid 1998 that Plane of Peace started to become popular, as it was seen by many zoophiles as a place to go where they could talk about zoophilia and animal rights in a non sexual context (which was actually the intention of the Plane of Animals). After corruption by the God of Peace, he was fired in late 1998, and then was controversially reinstated in 1999 under new management, and the plane was retitled to "Plane of Dolphins", or POD for short, and changed to port 4207. It was retained until 2000, when it was axed and replaced briefly by the Plane of Love. It then created its own spinoff chat site, with the same name.
The Plane of DarknessEdit
The Plane of Darkness actually lacked popularity until it had its own Goddess at the end of 1996. It had periods of inactivity, but then became incredibly popular later on. An entire system of dominatrix and submission was coded in to make the plane more like what it was there for, which a lot of people really liked (it even had its own channels for each type of desire). The addition of Vampire code was disliked by the Goddess, with the decision for the Vampire code to be moved to the Plane of Magic. The plane was retained in 1999, but was moved to port 4213, rather than 4210, because 13 is an unlucky number, that the new administrators liked. Under new administration, this became the plane of choice.
Axing of first coderEdit
Under the anti-corruption rules, the first coder of the Planes of Existence was fired and locked out of the system in mid-late 1996, just 2 months after starting, when it was found that he had coded in a number of short cuts to give himself ultimate power.
Axing of Magic and Extroversion GodsEdit
In late 1996, the God of Magic and the Goddess of Lust were both axed after they failed to log in for a period of 3 months. The God of Magic had said that he had been involved in a flood and his house was under water. Whether this is true or not was never proven. The God of Magic position particularly proved most controversial, as when he was axed its popularity dwindled.
Zoophiles on the Plane of AnimalsEdit
The initial plans for the Plane of Animals to be a place for animal rights lovers somehow managed to be changed to allowing zoophiles in late 1996, under the guise of popularity, and insistence that they would like the human rights aspects. Actual animal rights activists were driven away by what they said was sexual perversion, and ultimately in late 1999, under new ownership, the United Nations pulled the plug on their union with POE over the encouragement of zoophiles on their service.
German police and FBI try to use Plane of Animals to catch zoophilesEdit
Controversially, members of the German police and American FBI spied on the Plane of Animals in order to try to catch and arrest suspected zoophiles. The administration of Planes of Existence controversially banned all FBI and German police IP addresses, stating that the chat site was not designed to attack its members, and that they were there for human rights purposes, not to conduct zoophilia. FBI and German police agreed to this and stopped using the service to catch zoophiles.
Drug use on Plane of PeaceEdit
As this was hosted on talker.com, the talker.com staff insisted that all references to drug use be removed from the Plane of Peace, including games and jokes associated with it, and including all references to legalising marijuana or any other drugs. This had to be agreed on because otherwise they threatened to remove the chat site.
Plane of Animals sorceror is a meat-haterEdit
Perhaps the biggest controversy of all was when Plane of Animals promoted to sorceror a self-confessed animal rights activist who hated people eating meat. As most Plane of Animals users were meat eaters, this created enormous arguments, under the suggestion that he might ban them for eating meat. He never actually did anything wrong, but users left in droves. The Plane of Animals was effectively destryed in late 1998 by his promotion.
Plane of Women hire man as GoddessEdit
The initial Goddess, as it turned out, was a man. He was hired in mid 1996, and remained until early 1998, when his identity was discovered. There were no problems at all with him in this capacity, and it was interesting that a man was able to establish such a high profile position, pretending to be a woman, and have nobody discover it or even suspect it for over a year.
Second coder axed for corruptionEdit
The second coder, who was also the God of Life, was stopped from coding responsibilities in mid 1998 after it was discovered that he had created a number of intricate malicious code modules designed to destroy the chat site if he were ever fired. When asked about it, he insisted that it was simply for protection. He was given 1 week to remove the damage, and when he refused, he was fired. He remained on as God of Life for another 6 months, before he left to begin work on the "Plain of Animals" in early 1999. The malicious code was never entirely undone, and after his axing the chat site started to fall apart.
Chat site under new management pervertedEdit
In early 1998, the chat site was given up to the God of Men, who immediately began making radical changes to the entire system, removing all reference to human rights or animal rights or any activism, making everything adult only, and making everything sexual. Controversially, the creator of POE renegged on the agreement, citing breach of contract, refunded the money, and returned himself to ownership.
Chat site kicked off talker.comEdit
In the wake of the controversy about the new management, talker.com asked Planes of Existence to move in mid 1998. They then moved to skinart.com, but then had to leave again after just 6 months when it was discovered that skinart.com owners had never approved of the chat site being hosted there!
Axing of the God of Peace for corruptionEdit
The God of Peace made a stand claiming that all of the problems with bad coders and being kicked off talker.com and skinart.com was all due to the creator of Planes of Existence, a person calling himself Cat, and demanding for everyone to unify to get rid of him. The God of Peace then hacked in to the server and began giving himself more priveleges, and tried to ban Cat. The result of course was that there was no choice but to demote the God of Peace down to user level. This created a lot of controversy, as he insisted that this was done to shut him up, and that his voice must be heard. A lengthy set of evidence was produced, however.
In the wake of losing talker.com and skinart.com, the Goddess of Love and the new coder (the third) made a proposition to take over ownership of the site. This was agreed to. 1 week after taking over ownership, they banned the creator of the service, and reinstated the God of Peace, who had been banned for corruption. The banning of the original creator was said to have been done after he went around abusing users, but it was proven through site logs that this was actually done by the new owners impersonating him. A large number of people left because of this controversy.
Under new Ownership, 6 Planes (Madness, Lust, Men, Women, Peace and Darkness) were moved to a new host using their own domain name "planes.org" in early 1999. The 4 previous planes of Wisdom, Magic, Love and Animals were all axed. Women and Men were moved to 4201 and 4202, while Darkness was moved to 4213. Peace was renamed to Dolphines and given port 4207 (previously held by women). This created some confusion also because a number of people went to 4207 expecting the plane of women, but ended up seeing the Plane of Dolphins. It took a long time for people to start coming back, but the frequent impersonation of the original creator Cat by the new administrators, where they pretended that he gave permission for this helped to bring people back.
Old creator makes web pages blasting planes.org and e-mails users to ask them to leaveEdit
In early 1999, soon after the creation of planes.org, the original creator Cat made a number of web pages blasting planes.org, saying how it was no longer a human rights site, and how he had been banned and was being impersonated and so forth, and offered to e-mail people with proof. This created a lot of problems for the place, and they lost a lot of users.
Creation of lying history sectionEdit
In response to the old creator's web pages, the Planes of Existence made its own "history" section, which made no mention of Cat having created the site. It talked about his involvement, and lied enormously about what had happened, giving most of the credit to his ex-wife, known as Sootie. This was backed up on the web page, www.planes.org. It also removed all reference of there ever being a human rights or animal rights element.
Removal of Madness and Dolphins (Peace), addition of LoveEdit
In 2000, the Planes of Madness and Dolphins were removed, citing lack of user numbers. This enraged the God of Dolphins, who again said that he was being targetted unfairly. He went on to make his own chat site calling it the Plane of Dolphins. Love was added on 4209 in its place.
Selling of codeEdit
In mid 2000, the new coder decided to sell all of the Planes of Existence code to others who were making their own chat sites, for a price of US $50 each. This code was actually created by Cat. The only changes made were to removed all of the comments that said "written by Cat" to make it look like he had nothing to do with it. Legal options were considered, but the fact that Cat had allowed people to use his code for free made it a moot point. He continued to have a free download spot for the code, and simply encouraged people to download there rather than pay $50 to a con artist.
Removal of LoveEdit
In late 2000, the Plane of Love was removed entirely, due to a lack of popularity, meaning that there were now only 4 planes left of the original 10 - Lust, Women, Men and Darkness.
Combining of Women and MenEdit
In early 2001, the Planes of Women and Men was controversially combined (especially controversial considering that one was men-only while the other was women-only). Instead, they were combined in to men-only and women-only areas. This created outrage. It was suggested even to change it to "The Plane of Homosexuality".
Getting rid of the Plane of MenEdit
In mid 2001, to answer the controversy about the combining of the 2 planes, the Plane of Men was removed entirely. It was not as popular as the Plane of Women. A compromise was reached, and there was a note on entrance to the Plane of Women that men could come to, so long as they respected women's beliefs, and stuck to their own areas.
Controversial web pageEdit
The web page for www.planes.org wrote in fine print a lot of things which were simply illegal, including that they could have people prosecuted for things that they did. Lawyers appeared and sued the owners of the Planes of Existence over the comments, which resulted in an out of court settlement for an undisclosed sum. The net result was that this effectively meant that the chat site ceased to function.
Deletion of web pagesEdit
As a result of the court order, the www.planes.org web site deleted its entire contents in late 2001, and google was also asked to remove all caching, as well as all other references to the web site.
Removal of all planes besides LustEdit
Citing financial hardship, the Planes of Women and Darkness were removed in early 2002, with only the Plane of Lust remaining. That plane in itself had waned in popularity, and whilst the removal of the other 2 briefly increased Lust's popularity, it eventually lost all popularity.
Closure of the Planes of Existence chat siteEdit
In early 2003, the final plane, the Plane of Lust, was closed forever. It may be that one day someone else will create more. The Plain of Animals and the Plane of Dolphins, both in some ways spin offs of the Plane of Existence, still remain to this day.
- Talker.com's site on the Planes of Existence
- The Planes of Existence site
- Skinart.com's site on the Planes of Existence
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